So that’s my Mexico story almost over…. but before it ends, I have to pay tribute to several of these weird, wonderful, funny or downright bizarre moments that my experience wouldn’t have been the same without.
So the featured image for this post is one of my favourite Mexico pictures. Its SO weird. I saw it outside a photo shop as one of several posters like it, advertising the poster you could display at home of you child! My favourite is the pic of the kid top left. Only a mother could love that face! Hahah. Sorry, bloody hilarious.
Another pic – not at all as innocent, or so I realised… I was calmly washing my hands in the bathroom of a restaurant in Oaxaca and to my right saw this photo. ‘Oh’ I thought, ‘one of those cheesy angelic type pics of…. oh’ – you don’t need to look far to see what this cheeky lady is up to! Was a bit surprised to see it on the wall of the family restaurant toilet but hey ho, when in Mexico and all that. I suppose its just their way. Come to think of it I saw LOADS of people pashing in the street – felt like I was in Italy! (but with worse pizza).
Now this is slightly cruel, but watching Mexicans trying to ice skate was really funny. They obviously don’t have much ice over those ways. They all – without exception as far as I saw, did not skate, but dragged themselves round clinging to the side of the rink. The funny thing was that’s just how they skate there – I saw exactly the same thing it in an ice rink in the centre of Mexico City too! The only people actually skating were the staff managing the rink – gliding around happily in the middle of the rink, swooshing past everyone & helping pick people back up off of their arses. Though there wasn’t much of that; these folk were holding on for dear life.
Visiting the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City centre, I took a pew to take in the view (umm, and rest my legs, check my guide book…). Having been sat there a few minutes, as people moved away, I noticed this nativity scene to my right;
Now, I’m not sure if that’s to scale but that’s one big Baby Jee. No wonder he is so revered across the world! Again – not supposed to be funny, but in fact – hilarious.
Funnier still, I get up to leave after a few minutes and a security guard gently indicates me back to my seat saying something in Spanish with the words ‘Mass’ in it. So, I’ve (gently) not been allowed to leave, and I stay for what appears to be midday mass. Well its an experience! I didn’t like the singing much but it was cool to experience. I’ll admit I did leave after half an hour – I had loads more sight seeing to do! And had to carefully make my way amongst the now rather large crowd that had gathered in the pews around me, taking extra care to avoid ‘sleeping man’ to my immediate right.
Cuban Salsa NYE
I was lucky enough to end up having the kind of NYE you hope for when you are travelling alone. I hand’t known anyone in Mexico City in the morning, but thanks to Couchsurfing, I had 35 friends by the evening to eat and drink with. Somehow I managed to get them to try and find a salsa club with me. The one we found – the guide book one, was closing in an hour and it was too expensive to get in. The one just a few doors down from this however (most likely not in the guide book…) was a ramshackle place – bar come restaurant come impromptu party shack. The proprietor was a very charismatic, tall black guy – very distinctive looking in Mexico! He was excited to have a bunch of tourists who wanted to salsa in his (what turned out to be) Cuban salsa bar. He said when we arrived he was shutting as 3am, but an hour and a half later we were all still in there. And he’d moved on from salsa to party time disco music (‘Celebrate good times – COME ON!’ Do do do do..etc). He kept coming to the middle of the dance floor to shake his stuff and get everyone cheering. Everyone in there was so friendly – dancing with a bunch of people I’d never met before – including some very friendly smiley Cubans!- to happy music like we were old buddies. Yep – that was a NICE New Years Eve 🙂
Charismatic Cuban salsa bar owner plus Cuban lady dancer shaking their stuff!
Tribal dance, tribal blessings
In the middle of Mexico City I saw people doing what I can only suppose was traditional tribal dances in full tribal regalia. They looked pretty amazing. Also, there were some people next to them offering what I suppose also were tribal blessings with a guy blowing into a big shell, and a woman shaking incense and leaves at them. It must be effective – there was a long queue.
Traditional dance performers, Mexico City centre
Receiving blessings, Mexico City Centre
Charismatic Mercado Man
After my Frida Kahlo Museum experience (see Mexico City) I was lucky enough not only to make some lovely friends (to be fair, we had an hours wait outside so the odds were quite high…) but also take them to a nearby market where we discovered (again) beautiful colours, sounds and things of intrigue PLUS a hugely charismatic food stall owner, who was overjoyed to have us there. He welcomed all his customers in this way but was especially excited we were from so far away. He treated us all to a bit of a bonkers song. Then he sang another, even more bonkers that he got us to join in with. Hilarious and oh so heart warming!
Another Mexican market (mercado) full of colours and intrigue. Oh and of course pinatas..
Our very lively market food stall owner, banging a lid for attention from around the market before his song!
Now, this is a weird thing – another slightly disgusting foodstuff to try in Mexico. Actually, this isn’t food, its a drink (or arguably somewhere in between the 2). Also the first time I had it it was actually really nice. Its a kind of fermented drink – but very low alcohol content, made from the fermented sap of the agave plant (the agave plant – cactus – that also makes mezcal and tequila). It is textured and you can have it in all kinds of different flavours. The first one I had was pineapple and it was kind of mourish, sweet, and really yummy. The second one I tried however was wheat flavour which was not to my liking. My Mexican friend took me to try it in a traditional ‘Pulque bar’. He said back in the day the floor had loads of sawdust on it so people could spit out bits of their pulque…it gets a bit, well, slimy (selling it well aren’t I?!). He also told me to my slight horror that along the front of the bar, there used to be a channel for men to piss in as they were standing there so they didn’t have to bother going to the loo! Some people.
Oh and there was this weird, slightly wrong but amusing mural on the wall of the agave plant anthropomorphised into a woman, basically, well it seems expressing pulque (or could it be mezcal or tequila?!) from her breast towards a (very grateful looking) man with feathers on his head. As you do.
Getting a plane I expect a security check – sure, I don’t like it, but hey – its part and parcel of plane travel. Getting on a bus to go from one town to another, I don’t expect security checks. Not least do I expect to be (without warning) frisked with a metal detector as I try to get on the bus. Then (to my absolute alarm) the same police officer (I think that’s what she was??) got on the bus with a video camera and went round the bus filming all our faces! Now, I was just sat there slightly wide mouthed, really not liking this at all, but of course there was nothing I could do about it.
Talking of police, I noted seeing a large number of officials, police etc in general in my trip to Mexico. Sometimes in places I really thought they shouldn’t have been…
For example, after I’d had that wonderful experience seeing the dolphins jump out of the sea (see: Zipolite take 2) later in the day something happened in bizarre contrast to this, and in a way that to me was becoming typical of Mexico; weird, sometimes alarming & funny – generally surprising. Still sipping my pineapple juice, I looked left to see 4 policemen holding what appeared to be machine guns and looking out to sea. They cut such contrasting figures, in their dark full uniforms, to the rest of the people on the beach, skin bared but for bright bikinis & sarongs. Indeed their presence completely contrasted the whole easy going atmosphere of the beach. One of them got his phone out to take a picture of the sea which I found amusing (maybe they were on holiday!). I asked the waiter what they are doing there but he replied in Spanish so I cant tell you I’m afraid!
There were a lot of naked people on the beach at Zipolite. Well, to be fair it is a nudist beach, but I got a bit bored of all the willies everywhere I looked – started to put me off my lunch.
Not that I was laughing (I was) but there were 1 or 2 amusing naked men situations on that beach that are worth relaying.
Amusing naked man no 1: Early on in my stay at the beach, and new to nudist beaches as I was, I found it more than highly amusing to see a middle aged man, naked APART from his a) black rucksack, which he wore on his front
b) his heavy, winter sensible black shoes (no socks)
c) a pair of crutches – which he was basically carrying and not using
d) oh, and a sensible (black) hat.
Amusing naked man no 2: Lets call him Mr. Bizarre. Here was a youngish naked bronzed bloke with dark hair pulled up into a bun on top of his head, an Indian looking tattoo just above his coccyx, carrying a red satchel and confidently striding along beach. He stops quite near to where I and others are swimming (obviously this is as good a spot as any for what is about to unfold) and – get this – puts his bag down, faces the sea, spreads his legs wide and starts thrusting his crotch on short bursts towards the sea.
It didn’t seem sexual, just a weirdly eccentric thing to do, especially in the buff. Honestly – you couldn’t make it up!
Suffice it to say, I don’t have photos of these naked celebs to share with you unfortunately.
Oh, and here’s a game with a photo I do have. Its a ‘Where’s Bottom’ version of ‘Where’s Wally’, see if you can spot the tiny (but proud) white bum…
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